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Reminder of How Much Things Are Changing – Did You Know?

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Oh boy, I am shattered! What an incredibly busy week this has been thus far, folks! One of the busiest  I have been having in a long long while ! Thank goodness it is Friday and just feel like I could do with some well deserved rest and start enjoying the weekend a bit sooner than expected. I was thinking about creating another weblog entry where I could share some of the thoughts that have been going on in my mind over the last few days from stuff that I have been reading, but somehow I feel that my body and my mind have got other plans and just want to get the … out of here!

However, I thought I would create this particularly quick weblog entry where I would want to share a video from YouTube that I have found in several other places, Tony Karrer’s weblog being one of them, about how fast things are changing for us all at the beginning of the 21st century. There are lots and lots of things that I could share about the impact that video clip has had in me, after watching it. Humble is probably one of the words that comes to mind, amongst many others. However, instead of me just sharing some more thoughts with you on the subject, I am just going to embed the video over here and let you alone watch it. You will probably find it just as educational, enlightening and thought-provoking as I have found it.

It is just amazing that this presentation piece has been put together quite some time ago and is making the rounds all over the place nowadays. I guess … What comes around goes around… Have a good one, folks! Signing off for now…

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Reflections from 2011 on The World of Social Media

Tenerife - Mount TeideWhile everyone else out there on the Internet Blogosphere gets busy blogging away their predictions for 2012 around the world of Social (And whatever other word you would want to insert right after!), Technology, the Internet and whatever else you can think of, like it seems to be happening in a rampant fashion year after year even to the point of getting people a bit tired of it all, I think I am going to spare you folks with this blog entry on my own predictions for next year and I am going to concentrate instead, perhaps, on putting together a blog post where I could reflect on what’s happened in 2011 and how that will shape up my overall personal experience for everything social.

Like I have mentioned in a previous blog post, the last 3 months have been perhaps a bit too hectic both at work and on a personal level, but that doesn’t mean that I haven’t had enough time to go and reflect on a few things and, most importantly, on how I feel about the overall Social Web and the Internet / Technology in general. Now, originally, I thought about putting together a massively long entry over here, but then I realise it may have well been a bit too tiring and exhausting going through it in a single go. So I have decided to split it up in a number of articles where I will also try to hint along how I will be re-shaping up my own Social Web strategy, specially, after the last few months where I have been more away from it than attached to it and somehow it’s helped me get a clearer vision of where I would want to go and where I feel things will go. Will there be convergent paths, you think? Hummm. Maybe. May be not. Let’s see.

During the course of 2011 I have embarked on a whole bunch of business travelling. A lot more than in 2010, for sure! And not just to present, attend or participate in various different conference events, but also, the vast majority to go and visit IBM customers to share the experiences of what a socially integrated enterprise is all about. You could say that my favourite topic du jour all along has been The Social Enterprise. And still going strong, if I look into what lies ahead for 2012 where that travelling agenda is going to be even more hectic! But more on that shortly…

A couple of folks though from my closer social networks keep wondering how I do it. Where do I get all of that energy and extra effort to never get tired of it and continue to move along. To be honest with you, I hate travelling. I have been travelling for most of my life, and, definitely, for most of my business life and biz travelling is no longer what it used to be. Quite the opposite! It’s no longer a pleasure, but a big drain on everyone. And perhaps on a separate blog post I will share how I really feel about business travelling altogether and what I would like to see change for upcoming years to bring back that pleasurable experience. I know a few of you would consider that impossible to achieve, but may be not. We shall see. I don’t think it’d be that difficult to just change a few things and make a big difference …

Anyway, the main reason why I never get tired of travelling is because it gives me an opportunity to do two things on a more or less regular basis; two things I was not aware of till I eventually fully experienced them this year plentiful. First, love people! I have met so many wonderful folks this year, good old friends, and plenty new ones, who have surely make up for all of that hassle and burden of travelling, that it’s become an entire new experience where constant learning, collaboration and open knowledge sharing has happened at such deep levels that some of those conversations are still spinning in my head shaping up a lot of what I use to take the world for. Human beings were designed to be around other human beings, to socialise face to face, to learn by simply being around one another, to be challenged in healthy dialogue by those folks who always want to improve things, who want to make things better, who want to work smarter, who want to really create and leave behind an impact for which they would be remembered. It’s their legacy. Our legacy. They are the optimists, the outrageous, the heretics, the free radicals, the rebels at work who are constantly looking up for each other wanting to create and spark that energy, that brilliant idea, that can certainly change the world as we know it.

And throughout 2011 I had the huge opportunity to meet, and learn!, from a whole bunch of them! And big time! So much so that plenty of those conversations have certainly changed the way I view things, both at work, and in my private life. The best part of it is that they have also helped me learn about something very important; the second thing I mentioned above earlier on. The Social Web. Yes, we all know it from before. We all realise how critical and paramount the world of the Social Web has become not just for businesses, but also for all of our societies. For ourselves. If anything, because of a single, and rather simple, reason: the amplifying effect of our physical relationships and mutual bonds.

The Social Web is a wonderful thing! It’s changed my life and probably the lives of millions of people out there as well, but the main reason why that’s happening is not because of the unprecedented penetration and broadband reach it’s been enjoying in our society, touching every single aspect of our lives, but more because it’s helped us become even more connected than ever before. It’s helped amplify our relationships, our friendships, our reach, our connectedness, our common conscious (and unconscious) knowledge to such deeper levels that there is no way back. And probably there shouldn’t be, because all of this interconnectedness is helping us out to become better humans to our own abilities and expertise.

Throughout 2011 I have had the great opportunity to experience that; to realise that while the Web is there, there are many many more important things, specially, when that Internet access is patchy and you have got that unique opportunity to meet up, face to face, that huge amount of talent, and smart people, who you could never get tired of learning from. In the past I used to neglect that to a certain level and in the last few months, definitely, the last three, that being disconnected from the online world on a rather regular basis has helped me scratch that urge of meeting up people face to face and start a conversation and converse no matter for how long. And, boy, has that made a difference?!?!  The amplifying effect from the Social Web kicks in fully after you have met those people and exchanged a few ideas, you come back home and you realise you want to keep the dialogue going. And with all of these social tools at our fingertips, it’s never been easier. Quite the opposite.

There used to be a time, in my last 10 years of having been exposed to and involved with social networking and social software, where every time I would go and meet new people, specially, at customer events, workshops, seminars and whatever else, to talk about The Social Enterprise, I used to resort to those lovely, rather informative, perhaps a bit overwhelming short video clips that tried to explain the impact of Social Media in our world. Pretty much like a la Did You Know? fashion. The latest one I have bumped into is this fantastic 2 minute and 45 seconds YouTube video clip under the suggestive heading of “The World of Social Media 2011“:

For those folks who are rather familiar with Social Media, they probably wouldn’t learn much about it from just watching it. However, it’s worth while. It will help provide you with an opportunity to discover how the Social Web has moved way and beyond the tech world and dived in, big time, in every person’s life, whether tech savvy or not. It’s become so pervasive throughout the world that in all of my biz travelling this year I didn’t have a need to use these sort of videos any longer. The conversation has stepped up. Everyone knows about the Social Web. Even folks who not so long ago were technophobes and who, right now, are in full discovery mode trying to figure out how to best make use of it for their work, as well as their personal lives.

What’s my conclusion from all of this? Well, as a starting point, one gets to realise that social networking has been there  way before the Internet came into existence a few decades back. That personal (business) relationships, when carried out, nurtured and cultivated face to face, are as good as it gets. That the Social Web is not a substitute for those physical relationships but an augmentation factor that no-one can, or should, ignore to make them even better and more trustworthy. That eventually, the Social Web is unstoppable at this point in time and that those businesses that are still blocking the access to social networking sites, or the whole conversation around Social, are just missing a huge and an unprecedented opportunity to shape-up and redefine themselves to become even profitable, sustainable, caring, nurturing, purposeful and meaningful businesses. The Workplace of the Future. Our future.

Now, who dares to ignore and neglect that in 2012? Any takers? I hope not, but if you are let me share a couple of final words with you: Good Luck! (You are going to need it … )


PS. I am sure you may have noticed how at the beginning of this blog post I have included a whole bunch of links to blog entries and articles about some of the most interesting readings I have bumped into around those 2012 predictions and for some of them I may be touching base on them and for some others I think they would be relevant to see how far they may have set the stage into what lies ahead … Hope you folks enjoy reading them just as much as I did while putting together this blog entry.

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The Future of High-Performance Work Systems – Towards Meaningful Work

Bsarcelona - MontserratA couple of years back the folks over at oDesk put together a rather interesting and insightful YouTube video clip around The Future of Work, which lasts for a little bit over 6 minutes, that surely is worth while going through, specially, the last minute and a half, as it would remind plenty of people how close it is to the well known series of the “Did You Know?” videos. The clip comes to ponder about the future of work and how social computing tools are helping redefine the current workplace as we know it. Two years later, it looks like pretty much all of the main key messages from that video, still resonate quite a bit, thus making us all wonder whether things haven’t changed that much after all. You would expect that they may well have, but have they really?

Well, I am not sure what you would think about, whether we have shifted gears and moved one step further, perhaps two, from where we were in 2009, but I strongly believe that we surely have made some giant leaps into embracing, and adopting social networking tools as one of the most powerful methods to help redefine how work gets done nowadays. However, if there is anything clear coming out from back then and into today, after watching that video clip, is that a few of the annotations made during that six minute long clip are eventually a reality just two years later, in 2011, if not even further! Let’s have a look with some examples:

Priceless quotes like “Project teams at work are beginning to resemble movie production teams“, or “Although home is still the most common location, millions of virtual team members work from just about anywhere“, or “Employers will have access to a larger and more skilled workforce“, or even “Individuals will have more freedom and power than ever before” (One of my favourite quotes, by the way!), come to confirm, quite clearly, how we may be living through a time in which the future of work is a whole lot more transparent, flat, competitive, and on demand than ever before thanks to that emergence of social networking tools that we have mentioned above already and that are taking the business environment by storm.

And when talking about competitiveness we should probably not forget about high performing teams either. And how they themselves, when making use of social software tools, keep augmenting, even more, their already high performing working methods, to the point where the time finding the right experts has now gone down from several hours a week, to perhaps just 5 to 10 minutes. Or how the time to search AND find the right information at the right time has been also improved dramatically helping those high performing teams reach new levels of engagement, responsiveness and collaborative, as well as innovative, interactions by their own urge to keep up cultivating and nurturing those personal business relationships that they have been building over time.

However, we should not forget that what businesses out there would be the most interested in at the moment would be what my good friend Dr. Anne Marie McEwan calls Value Creation that she has blogged about earlier on today under the suggestive title “High-Performance Work Systems“. How it is all about efficiency and effectiveness (Whether amongst individuals or between groups, i.e. teams, networks and / or communities), about embarking on a constant learning curve that never ceases to stop, as it provides an open window into meaningful, motivating and engaging work. Some really good stuff in there!

In a way, it reminds me of another blog post I put together a couple of months back of how this helping redefine the future of (meaningful) work AND of the workplace, is also helping redefine the role of the Knowledge Worker him/herself, which just recently, a couple of days ago, my good friend, Harold Jarche beautifully reflected on as well into re-shaping up “The new knowledge worker“, one who seems to breathe plenty of critical thinking and a rather empowering inner urge to want to make things right or as Thomas Stewart would say: “A knowledge worker is someone who gets to decide what he or she does each morning“. With a purpose, if I may add.

Mind you though, Harold pretty much nails it as well when he comes to conclude that not all of the work is done. As much as those high performing teams, networks and communities are dictating how work happens around them and their networked structures, there is still a larger population of knowledge workers we cannot afford neglecting, nor ignore, and leave behind, just because they haven’t embarked on embracing social networks as part of their game. It will be, indeed, our role to lead and help facilitate those folks come on board as well, at the their own pace, at their own time, i.e. when they feel it’s the right one, with their own rules, with enough preparation to make it work for them and their needs. And somehow, like I have already been hinting out there on one of my recent Google Plus posts, I suspect that the glue part of the organisation that’s going to have a paramount role, if not far too critical to fail altogether in provoking such outrageously optimistic change into bringing some sensemaking to truly realise  The Social Enterprise vision, would be Human Resources, our good old HR organisation(s); as the one and only, Marcia Conner, described really nicely in a recent article over at FastCompany under the heading “Now that people finally matter to businesses, HR is the next big thing“.

It surely is! In fact, it’s been all along! Even more, from a Social Enterprise perspective, it’s perhaps the final frontier for all of us, knowledge (networked) workers, out there to claim that our work is now done!

Alas, we are not there just yet. Still plenty of work to be done! So we better roll up our sleeves and keep driving innovation further into meaningful work to help shape up the future of the workplace, our workplace: networked, more trustworthy, transparent, engaged, open and nimbler, in short, empowering altogether for ALL of us. Not just a few.

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